Saturday, April 12, 2014

Famous Classic Tales:

This is an old article pending revision.

You are probably familiar with the After School Specials aired on ABC. These programs have aired for many years until the increase of various daytime talk shows, public access, and courtroom themed shows. These were specials that were compiled into a TV series and were presented by numerous production companies. CBS had its own series, and was called "Famous Classic Tales". Not much is known about the series; there is little proof of its very existence.

The cartoons are various, with fellow production companies such as Filmation, Rankin-Bass, Ruby-Spears, Fred Calvert Productions, Buzzco Associates, Chuck Jones Productions, DFE Films, API, NIPPON Animation, Tatsunoko Productions, and Hanna-Barbera Australia.

Each of these studios did more work for a particular network and television series. Famous Classic Tales had a few production companies and the cartoons that were presented were focused on animated adaptations of classic literature.

API, called "Air Programs International" (and not "Australian Programming Institute"), began to release programs called "Family Classic Tales" and "Around The World In Eighty Days". They continued to produce cartoons which were aired on CBS their animation style is similar to Filmation.

At the same time, Hanna-Barbera Australia did the same thing. While co-producing with Sagittarius Pictures, they released the first animated "Charlotte's Web" motion picture for Paramount. They also did other adaptations of literature for Famous Classic Tales.

Eventually both studios would merge into The Southern Star Entertainment Group, which happened around the production of "The Berenstain Bears Show". Buzz Potamkin of Buzzco Associates and producer of the "Animal Department Store" segment was the producer of The Berenstain Bears Show. At the time it was released as a "Southern Star/Hanna Barbera Australia" production or as a "Hanna Barbera Australia/Southern Star" production. Today the series is credited as Southern Star. Many of the other API or Hanna-Barbera Australia cartoons are all credited as Southern Star now.

Here are some of the cartoons that were titled "Famous Classic Tales":

Jack And The Beanstalk was released on Sunday, February 26, 1967 by Hanna Barbara Australia.

The Three Musketeers was released on Saturday, April 27, 1968 by Hanna Barbara Australia and again on Monday, June 01, 1992 by Golden Films and distributed by Good Times Entertainment.

Tales Of Washington Irving was released on Sunday, November 1, 1970 by A.P.I.

A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court was released on Thursday, November 26, 1970. by A.P.I.

A Christmas Carol was released on Sunday, December 13, 1970 by A.P.I. and it is very similar to Chuck Jones's Adaptation. Both of these cartoons are not as popular as others, but are still very accurate and the scarier scenes were well produced in both of them.

Robinson Crusoe was released on Friday, January 01, 1971 by A.P.I.

Treasure Island was released on Tuesday, January 19, 1971 by A.P.I.

The Legend Of Robin Hood was released on Sunday, November 14, 1971. by A.P.I.

Marco Polo was released on Saturday January 1, 1972 by A.P.I.

Tabitha And Adam And The Clown Family was released on Saturday December 02, 1972 by Hanna Barbera Australia. This is based on the Bewitched characters. The opening is fully animated which is something that was done with many live action series. The style of the drawings is very similar. Tabitha and Adam would star in "Tabitha" which ended mid season because of lots of confusion by viewers. The opening for that follow up series was live action and the only drawings was a scrapbook album of drawings made by young children which is still a memorable opening.

Charlotte's Web was released on Friday February 22, 1973 by Sagittarius Pictures and Hanna Barbera Australia for Paramount. It is a separate motion picture that was animated in the same studios as the others and is a cartoon that was adapted from literature just like the other cartoons were.

The Count Of Monte Christo was released on Sunday September 23, 1973 by A.P.I.

The Swiss Family Robinson was released on Monday October 08, 1973 by A.P.I.

Kidnapped was released on Monday, October 22, 1973 by A.P.I.

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea was released on Thursday November 22, 1973 by Hanna Barbera Australia.

The Black Arrow was released on Saturday December 22, 1973 by A.P.I.

The Gentlemen Of Titipu was released on Tuesday, January 15, 1974 by A.P.I.

The Amazing Bungee Venture was released on Tuesday, January 22, 1974 by Hanna Barbera Australia.

Moby Dick was released on Wednesday January 1, 1975 by A.P.I.

The Mysterious Island was released on Saturday, November 15, 1975 by A.P.I.

Davy Crockett On The Mississippi was released on Thursday November 20, 1975 by Hanna Barbera Australia.

Ivanhoe was released on Thursday, November 27, 1975 by A.P.I.

The Last Of The Mohicians was released on Thursday November 27, 1975 by Hanna Barbera Australia.

From The Earth To The Moon was released on Saturday, January 01, 1976 by A.P.I.

Off On A Comet was released on Saturday, January 01, 1976 by A.P.I.

Master Of The World was released on Thursday, October 23, 1976 by A.P.I.

A Journey To The Center Of The Earth was released on Saturday, February 05, 1977 by A.P.I. and was originally written by Jules Verne.

Five Weeks In A Balloon was released on Thursday, November 24, 1977 by Hanna Barbera Australia.

Black Beauty was released on Saturday October 28, 1978 by Hanna Barbera Australia.

Puss N Boots Friday was released on January 19, 1979 by Hanna Barbera Australia.

"Gulliver's Travels" was made in Saturday, November 17 of 1979. It is extremely important to remember this animated adaptation because of the fact that there are so many. This cartoon is severely overshadowed by a cartoon made 40 years earlier. It was made by Max Fleischer and Dave Fleischer of Fleischer Studios and was extremely successful. However, it barely has an accurate adaptation (if any at all) of the original book. The characters of this movie look like the characters of the Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs film released that same year. The movie is focused on Lilliput and Plefusco and far less on Gulliver. In my opinion Mr. Gulliver in this cartoon looks intoxicated. He moves very slowly and smiles or grins too much. The characters and layout and design and music is very similar to other animation at that time. Mr. Gulliver does not have a British accent. Despite all of this, this movie is everywhere and it is very difficult for people to remember this 1979 version or any other version. As for this version, it stars Ross Martin as Lemuel Gulliver, Janet Waldo as Glumdalclitch, Don Messick as "The King" of Lilliput (his very long name is not mentioned in this adaptation), and Julie Bennett, Regis (Rege) Cordic, Hal Smith, and John Stevenson. It was produced by Doug Paterson and Chris Cuddington. The music is that famous Space-Age Pop music that was around for a very long time, but was simply credited as "Australian Screen Music". They feature several symphony orchestra compositions. This cartoon is about more than one of the adventures that Lemuel Gulliver has. It has a very dramatic and serious tone, but has some comedy added to it. They do however try to avoid excessive smiling and comedy as an attempt to depart from and separate itself from the 1939 "adaptation". Not every one of the adventures was explained, but do remember that they had less than an hour to do so.

The Adventures Of Sinbad was released on November 23, 1979 by A.P.I. and later on Sinbad was released on May 18, 1992 by Golden Films.

Daniel Boone was released on November 27, 1981 by Hanna Barbera Australia.

Aesop's Fables was released on January 12, 1983 by NIPPON animation studios which made a series called "Manga Aesop Monogatari" that was released by Storybook World with these other cartoons. One of them is movie length and describes Aesop as a mischievous young boy that experiences these stories himself. Some of them are "The Boy Who Cried Wolf", "The City Mouse And The Country Mouse", "The Ant And The Grasshopper", and "The North Wind And The Sun".

The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn was released on November 26, 1983 by A.P.I.

The Return Of The Bungee was released on January 29, 1984 by Hanna Barbera Australia.

The Velveteen Rabbit was released on April 20, 1985 by Hanna Barbera Australia.

Aladdin was released on April 27, 1992 by Golden Films.

Beauty And The Beast was released on May 04, 1992 by Golden Films.

Pinocchio was released on May 11, 1992 by Golden Films.

The Little Mermaid was released on May 25, 1992 by Golden Films.

Thumbelina was released on June 08, 1992 by Golden Films.

The Jungle King was released on June 15, 1992 by Golden Films.

Some of the voice actors are John Doucette, Paul Hecht, and Casey Kasem.

Where are they now??

They were released by several distributors on at least VHS in the 1980s. This includes Kids Klassics Home Video and Good Times Entertainment. There was also an animated series called "Storybook World" that released mostly extremely low budget and very low quality cartoons. At the same time they released the programs that were the Famous Classic Tales, along with a few others. If any of these programs did not air on Famous Classic Tales but is still listed here in this article, the fact that they were released together on video is the reason why. Good Times Entertainment had "Golden Films" studios which made literature adaptations, but the adaptation and popularity was enjoyed by Disney which previously made similar films about the same stories and repeatedly sued Golden Films for that even after labeling their releases with Golden Film and Good Times Entertainment. Golden Films is not related to Golden Books or Little Golden Book Land. It is impossible to find any of these releases. It is even more difficult because of the fact that there are so many other adaptations, some of them are more popular and sometimes much less accurate. They have been recently releasing some of these cartoons on DVD; some of them have more than one of the cartoons on them. KOCH Vision Entertainment is one of them. They have not been digitally remastered or anything like that, and the previous production logos were replaced with a newer Southern Star Logo.

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